Friday, 6 April 2012

Aubergine/Eggplant and Cheese Bake

Unlike traditional melanzane parmigiana, my aubergine bake doesn't contain Parmesan, although you could use some vegetarian Parmesan-style cheese if you wanted to. I don't salt my aubergines (life's too short to salt an aubergine!), and I only fry them in a little oil  -  well, a little compared to some traditional recipes! The secret to this dish is to cook the aubergines until they are soft, before baking them.

This dish can be prepared in advance and 
chilled over night, so it's great for dinner parties and special occasion meals.
  • 2 large aubergines, sliced into 1cm circles
  • 1 quantity of tomato sauce, made with 1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley and an added pinch of cinnamon - or a jar of good quality ready-made sauce.
  • 100-200g feta/hard goats cheese/mozzarella/vegan melting cheese, sliced or grated
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
Pre-heat the oven to 180C/170C Fan/Gas 4.

Heat a large non-stick frying pan and add 1 tbsp olive oil.

Fry the aubergine slices in batches until golden brown and soft, adding a little more oil to each batch. You can tell when they're done, by pressing down on the aubergine with a spoon or spatula; When they release their juices, they're cooked.

Spoon 1 tbsp of the tomato sauce into the base of each of 4 ramekins and top with a couple of slices of aubergine. Continue layering the sauce and aubergine, until you have either used up all the aubergine or almost run out of space! 

Top with the cheese and a sprinkling of dried oregano.

Put a lid or piece of foil over each ramekin and place on a baking tray.

Bake for 30 minutes, then uncover. Bake for a further 10-15 minutes to allow the cheese to brown a little, and for the sauce to thicken.

 from the oven and allow to stand for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Serve with pasta or salad and garlic bread.

Suitable for freezing.

You could make this in one big dish instead of individual ramekins, but I find it's quite difficult to serve if you want to keep it looking nice!
Add a combination of vegetables if you want to. Courgette/zucchini, potato and sweet potato work well with the aubergine. Fry these off in batches as before.

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  1. This looks delicious and looks adoreable in the little heart ramekin :)


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